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Understanding the three types of strokes

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a brain attack — more commonly known as a stroke — according to the National Stroke Association. During a stroke, the blood supply to an area of the brain is cut off for a period of time. The brain stops receiving oxygen and brain cells that control different body functions begin to die. The puzzling thing about a stroke is that some people seem to experience minor problems while others suffer life-changing disabilities or die following a stroke. The reason for these variations is that not all strokes are the same. They basically fall into three general types: a ischemic stroke, a hemorrhagic stroke, or transient ischemic attacks.

Ischemic Stroke
About 87 percent of all strokes are classified as ischemic strokes, according to the American Heart Association. During this type of stroke, the blood flow through the blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is obstructed. There are two common ways the obstruction occurs. With a thrombotic stroke, a blood clot forms right in the artery that goes into the brain. With an embolic stroke, the blood clot forms somewhere else in the body, travels to the brain and gets stuck there. Ischemic stroke can also be caused due to an irregular heartbeat, a heart attack, issues with heart valves, a serious injury to the neck or problems with blood clotting. People who are most likely to have a ischemic stroke are over 60 or have other health issues including high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, irregular heartbeat or diabetes. The risk also increases if there is a family history of strokes. The symptoms for an ischemic stroke include a sudden weakness in the face, leg or one side of the body. A feeling of confusion or problems communicating with others and dizziness or disruption of normal vision are also signs of a stroke.

Hemorrhagic Stroke
When there is bleeding inside the brain that causes damage to brain cells, it is referred to as a hemorrhagic stroke. Sometimes the bleeding is caused when a weak section of a blood vessel known as an aneurysm, breaks open. Bleeding can also be caused by a malformed blood vessel that breaks open. The bleeding can happen in the area between the skull and the brain or directly inside the brain. Both conditions come on suddenly and are serious. This type of stroke is more common in people over the age of 65. It is also more common for people who have uncontrolled health issues including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity or diabetes. A family history of strokes also increases the risk. Some signs of this type of stroke include an intense headache worse than any other headache ever experienced, extreme sensitivity to light, distorted vision or passing out completely.

Transient Ischemic Attacks
Transient ischemic attacks are often referred to as TIAs or mini-strokes. They occur when there is a temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain. The flow of blood might be stopped by a temporary clot or a narrowing of the blood vessel. Although the symptoms only last a few minutes, TIA’s are considered warning signs that an ischemic stroke may happen in the future. According to the Center for Disease Control, about one-third of the people who have a TIA and neglect to get treatment will have a major stroke within a year. About 10 to 15 percent of these people have the stroke within three months of experiencing the TIA. As with the other types of strokes, TIA is more common with advanced age, uncontrolled medical issues and family history. Signs of a TIA include numbness on one side of the body, confusion, problems with vision or communication or a severe headache. Although these symptoms may be temporary, it’s important to seek medical attention to avoid future strokes.

Getting care after a stroke
No matter the type of stroke, it’s important to start a focused plan of therapy quickly. Whitehall of Deerfield offers one of the best rehabilitation programs available. Their team of physical and occupational therapists work with each guest seven days a week to improve function so the guest can be as independent as possible. Speech therapists help with communication issues and can perform on-site swallow studies and address any issues found. Also, when it is time to go home, the discharge planning experts at Whitehall of Deerfield will assist in making arrangements for needed services and equipment for a successful transition home.

This support and therapy is offered in an upscale environment with elegant rooms. Daily delivery of coffee and newspaper is a welcome extra for guests. A variety of cuisine can be served in either elegant dining areas or in the privacy of your room. Other amenities include concierge service, dozens of cable channels and an exclusive channel featuring new movies, wireless high-speed Internet and much more.

To learn more or schedule a tour, visit whitehallofdeerfield.com or call 847-945-4600.

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